Friday 11th November 2011
LEST we forget: a child dies of hunger every five seconds; a couple in Coventry, receiving £57.50 per week in benefits, took their own lives a few days ago; Barclays makes £750,000 profit per hour; global military spending in 2010 was £1,000,000,000,000: that’s the equivalent of £142 for each and every one of us.
I’m not a great one for figures, but you don’t need a calculator to realise we are all living in a world gone mad.
I wish to stress the word ‘all’: the old dear in the local supermarket; the kids on a Bolivian street corner; the businessman in a Swiss hotel room; the family in an African refugee camp; the crowd at a football match; the millions watching television; the good, the bad and the ugly; him, her, you and me.
This weekend is one of remembrance.
Assuming the coach is on time, I shall be at St Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday, to bear witness, to remind myself that to be human is to be humble, to stand in quiet reflection on past and present sufferings.
And I need to do this in the embrace and companionship of those choosing to put others before themselves. That is why I will spend the rest of the day at Occupy London, washing up, talking to strangers, listening to campers, joining discussion groups, and being a small person in a worldwide hug that seeks to free us all from the embarrassment of those statistics above.
There can no longer be any pretence. No argument can justify the pain of the many for the gain of the few. To excuse immoral behaviour as ‘only human nature’ is to countenance robbery, rape and murder. It is the last refuge of the small-minded, mean-spirited and weak-willed.
So, with warm optimism and a glad heart, I shall participate in the direct democracy of the General Assembly, where I can honour my fellow citizens and affirm the virtue of taking personal responsibility.
Occupy is a step into the unknown, based only on knowing the difference between right and wrong. Let us all dare to boldly go where humankind has not gone before.